[cheap pun involving the word “bland”]

Paloma Faith as ‘Georgia’ in “Blandings”The first series of BBC1’s Blandings came to an end yesterday… in much the same way that it began, with plenty of broad buffoonery, occasionally grotesque imagery*, and a few mildly amusing moments scattered sparsely throughout.

Blandings Castle served as the setting for eleven novels and nine short stories by the humorist P. G. Wodehouse, and I have fond memories of a feature-length adaptation the Beeb put together back in 1995, starring Peter O’Toole as the permanently befuddled ‘Lord Emsworth’. So this latest effort had a lot to live up to, and I’m afraid it fell far short of my expectations. Having not read the original books, I can’t say how faithful this iteration was… all I know is that I was never in any particular rush to watch my recording of the latest episode.

Paloma Faith as ‘Georgia’ in “Blandings”On the plus side, I thought Jennifer Saunders did a great job as ‘Lady Constance’, a daunting dowager with an acidic tongue… in fact her withering insults and threats were the most consistently chuckle-worthy aspect of the show for me. The later eps also boasted cameos by Paloma Faith, as a ditsy showgirl with a total ignorance of life outside the city (ep 1.4.), and Jessica Hynes as ‘Lady Littlewood’, a disingenuous gold-digger with a snotty son (ep 1.6). Faith in particular took to the material like a duck to water, and made me wish there were some way to clone her, so that one twin could continue acting, while the other pursued a musical career. It’s not fair (on us) to make her choose, dammit!


* E.g. ‘Freddie’s repellent, Something About Mary-esque quiff getting a stiffy every time he saw an attractive young woman… or the closing shot of the finale featuring an obese pig nibbling away at a wobbling pink blancmange. Ick.

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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